30 April 2018

Seattle beckons for Imagine Cup games team

Seattle beckons for Imagine Cup games team

An Abertay University student games development team is preparing to take on the best in the world at the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Seattle.

Blacklight Games is made up of third year students Matthew McAuley, Marc Ubach Martinez, Emily Peterson, Calvin Angove, Alice Firth, Craig Metcalfe, Liam French and Hamish Blackwood.

As part of a coursework exercise, the team - which features programmers, artists, games designers and sound engineers - has created Firepoint, a first-person mixed reality simulator which aims to bring a new level of realism to firefighter training.

A screenshot from Firepoint

Using HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality technology, the game allows trainees to see through the eyes of a firefighter as they make their way through a multi-storey training ground tackling a variety of different issues.

It is hoped the simulator can eventually be used at open days or recruitment fairs.

In April the team made the UK finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in London, which seeks out the most innovative and potentially world-changing software solutions.

They will now travel to Seattle in July to take on teams from across the world, with a prize of $100,000 at stake.

A screenshot from Firepoint

It is the fourth year in a row an Abertay team has made the UK finals of the contest and the second consecutive year at the world finals.

Matt said: “We wanted to use technology to help provide training for different scenarios. The trainer can give feedback as they are moving through the world and it gives an idea of what they would be facing in real life.

“It’s immersive and gets them ready for real training. Microsoft really saw the potential in it, particularly the potential to improve response times and how it could be used for training in different building situations.

“We are now going to narrow the game down and look at spatial mapping to see if we can make the game more real, based on real environments and make it a really polished product.

“We were shell-shocked to make the final – it’s absolutely amazing.

“This project has been real fun and to go to the Imagine Cup and make it through to Seattle is incredible.

“The fact that we have a mix of disciplines within the team has been fantastic and I feel like it is getting us ready for a company environment - different people with different talent coming together to make something new.”

To study games at Abertay visit www.abertay.ac.uk/schools/school-of-design-and-informatics/

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